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October 5, 2007

Livan Hernandez


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Livan.

Q. You've been through this before. How much does it help having been in this situation before?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: It's a very difficult situation. I've got a lot of challenges that I've got to face and got to go through this situation. You know, I'm looking for a win tomorrow, and my team is looking for a win, and Chicago Cubs are looking for a win so they can continue to play in the postseason.
You know, I've got to go outside and do my best and give a chance to win to the team.

Q. You've always been known as a big game pitcher. How much do you relish being out there in front of everybody, national TV and everything, and having that opportunity?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: You know, it's more difficult. When I'm 21 years old and in Florida, God, like 65,000, 68,000 people. Now it's more easy. I'm the kind of guy, I do the same I do every time I go to the mound. And the more important is to give 100 percent and give a shot to my team, try to win, keep the ballgame close.
It's always only one game you've got to win, so you've got to give them a chance because the team -- the other team is coming and hit you good early and a lot of runs. You don't want that too early. You've got to go outside and give it your best.

Q. In the first two games you guys shut down the Cubs' big hitters pretty well. What did you learn from that?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: You know, Chicago is a great team. It's a team that's got power, running. We'll go in tomorrow and try to make a plan for the game with the pitching coach and try to continue -- I saw the first two games and saw a couple people struggling. You know, you don't want to be too relaxed because people are struggling because you never know when those guys come back and start hitting the ball.

Q. With a record above .500 in your career and also below .300 ERA here at Wrigley Field, what have you liked about pitching at this ballpark in the past?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: You know, this field is great because the fans -- I think the fans here in Chicago is one of the best fans in baseball. It shows up like I don't know how many thousand people in Arizona.
You know, it's great when you've got to be in this situation. The stadium is going to be packed and crazy and people screaming. I think it's great for baseball. I love it. It's something I like, see the people screaming. It's something I'm looking for.

Q. Have you ever closed out a team before in a playoff series? And if you had a choice, would you rather be the pitcher starting a series or the pitcher in the position to close it?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: It doesn't matter. It's something that -- this situation is good. This situation I think is great. You've got a chance to win and pass to the second level.
I like to be in this situation sometimes, sometimes the other one, like '97 I started the World Series, the first game.
You know, the more important is go and concentrate on whatever you've got to do. You've got to -- it's time you've got to be a man. It's no time to think like a kid. You've got to go outside and give it the best and don't try; you've got to go and do it because trying isn't going to help. You've got to do it.

Q. But have you closed out a team before? Have you been the winning pitcher in the game that clinched a playoff series?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: Yeah, I got a couple situations before, with San Francisco, with the Giants, and I got in a situation with the Marlins and the series tied 2-2, and I won the game to go to Atlanta and Phoenix.
And San Francisco, too, I got a chance -- losing the series 2-0, I think, and I win the next game and give it a chance and go to Atlanta again and win.
You know, I've got a couple situations. I won very important games. I know the people in San Francisco forget that, but people in Miami remember the good moments.

Q. Watching the first two games, can you sense the frustration from the Chicago batters? What can you do to take advantage of that frustration in your game?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: You know, there's a lot of people struggling right now. Sometimes it's good and you've got to take advantage and go and do the same job.
You know, it's very different pitchers, three different pitchers. Brandon Webb is working great in the first game and Doug Davis did a good job yesterday. But you see everybody, he got different stuff.
I've got to see them tomorrow, watch videos and see what is the best way we can pass these guys because what I said before, you don't know when these guys wake up and start hitting.
I don't want the day to be tomorrow, so I've got to make sure I do everything right with my catcher and the pitching coach and put everything together for the game tomorrow.

Q. Based on the same question that was asked before, do you challenge their aggressiveness as the game goes along simply because there's one game to go? Do you challenge the aggression as the game goes on? Do you challenge the frustration that they're overaggressive at the plate? Do you have them swing themselves out of the game or do you still pitch to them straight?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: You've got to repeat -- it's too long for me (laughter).

Q. Apparently they have nothing to lose. They're going to swing at pitches, situational or not. Do you help them out or do you still pitch to your game?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: You know, I've got to -- first of all, you've got to make a plan to pitch my game. I don't go outside and try to -- I know that Soriano, whatever, Ramirez, he's a fastball hitter. If he's struggling, I'm going to throw the fastball right there in the middle. It's not going to happen.
It's something that I've got to do the same job that the other guys do. I know the frustration now for the Chicago Cubs is difficult. It's a difficult situation.
You know, my team is coming here to try to win one game and pass to the second level, that's it.

Q. Could you talk about your strengths as a pitcher, and do you feel like you're at the top of your game right now?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: Yeah, I feel good. I feel very confident. I don't pitch for like, I don't know how many days, 10 days, 11, 12. You know, the other day I faced a couple hitters and I feel really good. Tomorrow is going to be a great day for me, and everybody is excited. Everybody is tired.
You can see in my face. I wake up at 6:00 in the morning. You know, when I'm coming here, it's for something, for some reason, and try to win, try to give it my best on the field tomorrow. You know, I've got a lot of support. I've got a lot of people watching.
My family -- it's great when you've got a family giving you a lot of support and call you and give you the best, the best luck. And the people here are just very excited. My team is young guys. The team can play baseball, play smart, and I think we're going to give it our best tomorrow because we've got a chance to finish tomorrow and go need to go outside and give 100 percent.

Q. You say you haven't pitched for 11 days?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: Yeah, something like that, 11, 10.

Q. Is that a concern?

Q. Do you feel maybe a little rusty?

Q. Fresh?
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: Fresh (laughter).
It's difficult sometimes, and I go through two bullpens and I faced the hitters the other day in Arizona. Like that guy said, a little fresh now, and it's sometimes good. So what I do is before the game I try to work in the bullpen before I go to the game, try working with the strike zone because 10 days, 11 days is a lot for a starting pitcher.

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